2019 Absorbing Reads

This week I thought I’d update you on my Summer Reads by sharing lessons learned or take aways from the books I’ve finished reading already. So, here we go…

1. Survival of the Fittest by Jacqui Murray:

What drew me to this book is the name of the main protagonist, Xhosa, and the setting. The story, set 850,000 years ago, deals with hardship and determination as a tribe led by a female warrior migrates in search of a new home. 

It’s clear as they journey along, and meet other tribes that they need to learn to trust others, join forces if they are going to defeat the enemy. 

I have met many Leaders, as I am sure you have. They either meet my gaze or look elsewhere. Which it tells me all I need to know about whether they will be friend or foe.

2. The Firm by John Grisham

I picked this book (and A Time to Kill also by Grisham) from a thrift store for only two euros. Grisham is one of those famous writers I’ve never read until now.

And I very happy, I finally did. The lesson for me from this one: “if it’s sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader edited by Maria Popova & Claudia Bedrick

The letters in this book are written for young readers by different authors, artists and experts from all walks of life. I felt a child, myself as I read. Because some of these letters took me back to my own childhood of finding solace in books, feeling understood and dreaming of far away places with white Christmases. 🙂 The key message for me here: love of books is one of the best ways to widen a child’s world.

There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts. To read a book and surrender to a story is to keep our very humanity alive. 

4. How Often I Have Chosen Love by Xiao Yue Shan

Shan’s poems speak of places I’ve never been; the complex history of China, a life in Hong Kong and apartments of San Francisco. Yet I relate to the perpetual complex sense of home and nuanced families.

I also like her writing style and voice a lot. One of my favourite poems is, and hong kong was always this shade of light blue. Btw, this chapbook is available for free. If you love poetry do yourself a favour, download and read!

5. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

When I read the summary of The Four Agreements from Kathy’s Instagram post I knew it was a book I had to read, even though it wasn’t on my reading list.

The book deals with how self-limiting beliefs rob us of joy and create needless suffering. The timing was just right, and the second agreement resonated with me most.

When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do.

That’s it for now, folks. Of course, I’m always interested to hear about your reads. Care to share a book that has made an impression on you, so far?

Other than that, Happy Midsummer / Hauskaa Juhannusta! I’ll be celebrating mine soaking up the sun, and with a good book. 😀

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. A story set 850,000 years ago is intriguing! That would entertain me. Currently I am reading Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. I have never read any of his work before. The story is so timeless and it amazes me how our country seems to never change.

  2. I’m with Val, the timeline calls to me. And, of course, the idea of an immigrant warrior looking for a home makes my reader’s mental hands twitch towards the book.

    P.S. I’m laughing really hard because, earlier today, I made myself a note about the title of my next post (most likely) which includes the words “not-quite-so-Random” and claims to be inspired by your 5 Random Things on Friday and Rommy’s Blogging Around. Also, I’m sharing bookish experiences, too, lol!

  3. Survival of the Fittest is an intriguing story, indeed. I recommend it. 🙂

    I love historical fiction but sadly, I haven’t read Steinbeck’s books myself. Perhaps, Grapes of Wrath is a book to note and add to my TBR. Thank you for sharing your reads, and happy reading!

  4. Women have long been warriors; they lead both with their heads and hearts. The story of Xhosa proves this, and the book is a really brilliant at prehistoric times.

    Great stuff! I always love these coincidences. 😀 I’m heading over to read.

  5. The description of the first one reminds me a little of Clan of the Cave Bear, which I enjoyed reading back in high school. I’ll have to take a look at it.

    I think NOS4A2 has made the biggest impression so far, but I am a little behind on my summer reading. I plan to catch up a bit over the weekend. 🙂

  6. Survival of the Fittest is indeed fascinating, and the first book in the series. I hardly read all books in a series unless it’s steampunk, but I think I might follow this story right to the end.

    I had to look up NOS4A2 as I’ve never heard of. I see it’s something of an intrigue; dark fantasy. As I mentioned before, one cannot rush reading. So, be content with your reading speed! 😀

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